Striae, or stretch marks, are a type of scar on the skin that is caused by a variety of different factors. They appear when the middle skin layer, the dermis, is stretched beyond its own tolerance. The fibers that connect the skin break and this disrupts the production of collagen and leads to a scar. The marks are quite unsightly, which is why many people look into stretch mark treatments to reduce their appearance.
Causes of Stretch Marks
Men and women alike are able to develop these marks, with the hips, thighs, buttocks, arms, lower back and abdominal areas being the most likely areas for striae to develop. The causes are wide and varied. Genetics are an important part, but most of them are caused by significant weight gain, or weight loss. Many stretchmarks also appear during puberty, when children have growth spurts that their bodies are not able to handle. Similarly, many bodybuilders have stretchmarks due to rapid growth. Additionally, long term use of corticosteroids, both topical and oral, can lead to the formation of stretchmarks. Ethnicity is also believed to play a role, with darker skinned people being more likely to develop them. Finally, they are often caused by pregnancy.
What Stretch Mark Treatments Are There?
There are numerous types of treatments to choose from and all of them are effective to some degree. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used options. The average results are also interesting to review.
Natural removal is based on removing stretchmarks without any medical intervention. There are stretchmark lotions, creams and taking part in a healthy lifestyle that includes diet and exercise. Many individuals feel that the majority of these treatment options don’t work very well, particularly on striae that have been present for a while. One of the reasons for this, however, is that there are many poor quality products out there. It is important to find a product that is well reviewed and has been clinically tested.
One such example is Celtrixa, which is a topical lotion that has been developed to reduce the appearance of stretchmarks, both old and new. In a clinical study, 100% of users reported that stretchmarks were visibly reduced within just two weeks.
Laser Stretch Mark Removal
The second option is laser removal. Here, laser light is used to remove a very thin layer of skin near the actual strecth mark. It does not cut or burn the skin in the way that some lasers do. Rather, it disrupts the molecular bonds in the actual tissue of the skin. This then causes ablation, which means the tissue actually disintegrates.
The healing process is very quick and as the new tissue forms, stretchmarks are visibly reduced. Indeed, many disappear completely, leading to healthy and rejuvenated skin. It is an effective method of removal, although less so on very old marks. Sometimes, as many as 10 treatments are required in order for the marks to be removed completely, and some won’t ever go. Results are individual and unique.
Surgical Stretch Mark Removal
The only option for permanent and complete elimination of all stretchmarks is surgical removal. However, this type of procedure is only offered on the abdominal area, and only on those who are having a tummy tuck. In essence, all of the skin with stretchmarks are removed. Only those who are healthy non-smokers are considered candidates and they must also have excessive skin in the abdominal area. Recovery can be long and painful and there are significant risks associated with the procedure.
Another option is the chemical peel, which is generally used on facial areas to help reduce age spots and wrinkles. However, it can also be used for stretchmarks on any area of the skin. With a chemical peel, a sponge or cotton pad is soaked in a chemical solution, which is then applied to the skin. The solution itself has to be created depending on the needs and requirements of the patients. Basically, it peels the top layer of the skin off, thereby removing old and damaged skin. This then encourages the production of new skin cells.
The procedure can feel quite painful and uncomfortable. Multiple treatments may be required in order for it to be effective and to get the best results. The skin is left healthier, smoother and more youthful. However, the procedure is not always very effective and it can be incredibly uncomfortable. The healing process can be quite quick, although this depends on the individual.
Microdermabrasion works in a similar way to chemical peels. It works by removing the top layer of the skin. A chemical peel burns off the top layer of the skin. Microdermabrasion, by contrast, uses a crystal spray, which effectively blasts the top layer of the skin off. This removes all the dead skin cells, leaving room for health skin cells to appear instead. These cells have more elastin and collagen, which are needed for smoother, younger looking skin.
The procedure is painless, which is a great advantage, and it also takes only around an hour to complete. However, between five and twelve treatments are needed in order for the procedure to have optimal effects. Results vary depending on the individual.
Blue Light Therapy
Blue light therapy is generally used in the treatment of acne. However, it can also be used on stretch marks. Basically, a photosensitive gel is applied to the skin and bursts of light energy are then sent to it. This type of treatment is particularly beneficial to newly acquired marks, but not very effective on older ones.
The above are the most commonly used treatment options for stretchmarks. Each has it own advantages and disadvantages and all of them have differing results in terms of effectiveness. The only treatment option that works in a completely painless and noninvasive manner, however, is natural stretch mark removal such as that offered by Celtrixa. This product ticks all the boxes in terms of effectiveness, particularly since it has also been put through clinical trials.